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Crotty just doing his job for the team

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Lynn McConnell     22 Aug 2017     Getty Images

With the side preparing in Dunedin for Saturday's second Bledisloe Cup Investec Rugby Championship Test, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said he thought centre Crotty was outstanding in Sydney on Saturday.

"He gets labelled the 'Steady Eddie' in some ways because he doesn't make many mistakes but then you look at his gain line carries [where he is] is one of the highest in the team, and line breaks and offloads so there is a lot more to his game than he is given credit for.

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"And yes, he's a calming influence and he's a really good reader defensively but he's also a pretty significant contributor on attack in a probably less flamboyant way but a very effective way," Foster said.

Crotty said he didn't read too much into the credits he was being given for his role in commanding the backline.

He said all he was trying to do was his job to meet the requirements of the side.

Wing-fullback Ben Smith, who is playing his last game this weekend before going on a sabbatical, said Crotty was a good communicator and he met his role of doing what was required of him every week and that helped provide clarity on what they were doing for the players around him.

Crotty said they were aware they slipped off the pace in the second half in Sydney last weekend and the Australians had got themselves back in the game.

"Our attention got a little bit diverted one way or another and let them back into the game. We saw when we did execute with the ball, and without it, the limited opportunities we gave them," he said.

That was a key lesson for them.

The Australian ability to defend was tested because of the speed of ball the All Blacks were able to achieve. That allowed them to play a lot and when that happened it made it easier to pick defences apart, Crotty said.
"When they start slowing that ball down and making the ruck a bit slower it becomes a bit more difficult which I am sure will be a big focus for the Australians this week.

"So we need to nail our ball carry and clean out to give ourselves that quick ball we need to attack and execute opportunities that we create," he said.

Crotty said Smith would be missed while he was on leave because he was probably the best outside back in the world and as much as he contributed on the field, he also did a lot off the field.

"He's a real leader in this team and he's a good man," he said.

Smith said he was expecting Australia to be more physical at the breakdown in Dunedin and the All Blacks would need to be accurate in that department.

Both teams would have had a good look at how each other played and would make respective adjustments.

"I think you'll see an Aussie team that is pretty fired up this week," he said.

The enclosed Forsyth Barr Stadium would play into the hands of both sides and their desire to use the ball and it should make for a great occasion, Smith said.